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Presidential Influence On Teenage Drug Abuse

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Autor:  anton  20 November 2010
Tags:  Presidential,  Influence,  Teenage
Words: 829   |   Pages: 4
Views: 298

Presidential Influence and Teenage Drug Abuse.

"Just don't do it", the slogan from Bob Dole's anti-drug campaign upon a cursory

evaluation, may appear to have been an inefficient way of confronting the growing

problem of national drug abuse. After all, it is hardly reasonable to believe that a

potential drug user will specifically consider these words before deciding whether

to get high or not.

However, this slogan, and the man that stands behind it, represents a sorely

needed, value-oriented stance on the issue that was lacking in the Clinton

administration. The president's cavalier attitude was responsible for a dramatic

increase in drug abuse among teenagers. While Clinton's baby boomer generation

dismissed aggressive anti-drug campaigns as ineffectual, the truth is that tough

approaches to the problem have proven to be very successful. The Nixon, Reagan

and Bush Sr. administrations are direct examples of this.

When Richard Nixon began his first term, use of marijuana and heroin had

reached an all-time high. In response, he vowed to wage a national attack on

narcotics abuse, which involved reducing the flow of drugs into the country while

stepping up drug treatment programs. Nixon began his work by arranging for the

extradition of noted heroin chemists, and sent ambassadors to negotiate narcotics

agreements with foreign countries. Turkey, which provided about 80 percent of the

U.S. heroin supply promised a complete cessation of its production in exchange for

$35.7 million in aid. On the national level, the Nixon administration further proved

its dedication to the cause by legalizing the use of drugs to combat addiction and by

encouraging anti-drug commercials and television programs. Although many were

doubtful that these measures would have any impact, they did help dramatically

curtail drug abuse. In 1975, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

announced that while the purity of heroin had declined, the street price was four

times greater. The result was a marked decline in heroin abuse.

Unfortunately, the Carter administration failed to continue the vigorous anti-drug

campaign. In fact, President Carter at one time advocated that marijuana possession

be legalized. It is little wonder that, in the absence of strong moral leadership, by

1979 half of all teenagers were experimenting with the drug. Fortunately, Reagan

was elected at this crucial time, and was succeeded by George Bush Sr.. Both

presidents strongly supported drug interdiction. Between the years of 1979 and

1992, teenage drug abuse reduced by one-half.

The fluctuation of drug abuse statistics in accordance with changing political

leadership is not coincidental. It is a direct reflection of the importance of

presidential guidance on this issue. The Republican presidents that took an

aggressive anti-drug stance helped to drastically ameliorate the problem of

addiction. Under their leadership, public attitudes towards drug use changed. The

belief that taking drugs was morally incorrect became more widespread. Most

importantly, they proved that the war on drugs is not a losing battle. Parents,

educators and law enforcement officials do not have to accept drug abuse as a

growing and irreversible trend. Sadly, the Clinton administration appears to have

espoused Carter's apathetic stance on the issue. For the first part of his term, he

appointed a surgeon general who voiced support of drug legalization, and reduced

the amount of resources available to the White House drug office. Evidence then

emerged indicating that members of his own staff had taken drugs. Most dismaying

is that instead of denouncing his attempt to experiment with marijuana, President

Clinton made light of the subject, cavalierly joking about it on Music Television. If

the President of the United States does not vehemently condemn the action of

taking drugs, how can society expect today's youth to attach any stigmatization or

sense of shame to drug abuse?

Recent polls have shown that the problem appears to be rooted in the fact that

many baby boomer parents experimented with drugs in their youth, and

subsequently expect that their children will do the same. Eighty-three percent of

parents who had never smoked marijuana believed it would be a "crisis" if their

children were to experiment with drugs, as opposed to just 58 percent of parents

that had smoked marijuana. These statistics show that, under Clinton's liberal

example, a large segment of our society resigned itself to accepting drug use as a

part of our culture. While it is true that catchy slogans will not win the war on

drugs, they are a small start toward changing the attitude of indifference that has

made this battle increasingly difficult to fight.

In conclusion, I believe that children do actually learn from our politicians. A

strong president has made a huge difference in previous terms of office and I

believe the more strong presidents we elect the more we will see teenage drug abuse

decline.



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